As they would say in France, “Joyeux anniversaire, Angelina!”
Angelina Jolie turns 38 on Tuesday, and she celebrated Monday night with an intimate dinner for two in Paris with fiancé Brad Pitt, following the premiere of his film World War Z at the Normandie Theatre.
Pitt, 49, arranged the dinner personally on Monday afternoon, sources tells PEOPLE, choosing the high-end wine restaurant Il Vino, run by Enrico Bernardo, the youngest-ever winner of the World’s Best Sommelier award.
The couple, both in black jackets, dined alone in a back of the intimate neighborhood restaurant, enjoying a degustation – the restaurant’s tasting menu – around a medley of French wines, staff members say.
“Their main plate was langoustines with a French wine,” said one. “And there was a dessert – a cake, because it was her birthday.”
“It was very subtle, real cool,” said one surprised diner, Yen Goel, who was dining with her husband Rajat when the couple arrived.
“They came in very unobtrusively. It was real fast. They walked by, and I said to my husband, ‘I think I just saw Brad and Angelina walk by us.’ And he said, ‘I think you may have had one glass of wine too many already.’ ”
Following the dinner, Pitt and Jolie joined others from their World War Z travel party at Silencio, a nightclub near Montmartre designed by film director David Lynch.
Asked by reporters earlier in the evening, on the red carpet, if this birthday is special – given his fiancée’s double mastectomy earlier this year – Pitt demurred.
“Every year is special,” he said. “This year isn’t any more special than other years. We’re going to celebrate in the air with the kids because we’re going on to the next city.”
The family heads to Berlin next.
It wasn’t just another red carpet premiere for Brad Pitt in London on Sunday, June 2, where the superstar debuted his new zombie epic World War Z. At the actor’s side was fiancee Angelina Jolie — gorgeous in a Saint Laurent floor-length black gown — in her first public appearance since her preventative double mastectomy, which began in February and which she revealed in the New York Times last month.
Pitt was frank with reporters about the importance of his love’s appearance that night. “[Her support is] the same thing it means every time she comes to support me, but this time we don’t have that other thing hanging over us that we knew we’d have to deal with at some point – her specifically, physically,” Pitt, 49, explained. (After doctors discovered a faulty gene that made Jolie hugely susceptible to breast cancer, the actress opted to undergo the intense procedure.)
“It’s a huge relief to know, that’s the thing that’s not going to take her,” Pitt said of the fatal disease. “[Cancer] is not the thing I’m going to have to explain to the kids about why they can’t see mom again. It’s big, it’s everything.”
“I’m so proud of her,” he gushed. “She’s a badass. She’s just a badass.”
Jolie kept it short and sweet with reporters. “I feel wonderful!” she said. “It’s Brad’s night.”
It was also family night: The couple’s eldest sons Maddox, 11, and Pax, 9, were on hand to catch the film with their famous parents. “My boys, they’re big zombie fans,” Pitt explained to Us Weekly. “That’s what first got me focused on [Max Brooks'] book.”
Like other busy young families, the Jolie-Pitt clan has weekends of comforting domestic frenzy. On a recent balmy spring Saturday, Mom busied herself returning phone calls and correspondence while her young children got underfoot. Meanwhile Dad tried to stay on top of mounting work projects as the older kids enjoyed a raucous playdate with pals in the yard. That afternoon Brad, Angelina and their bright, beautiful and sometimes exasperating crew – plus one family dog – piled into a van for an outing.
“Nothing seemed different,” says a family source of the scene at the couple’s compound in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles on May 18. “The kids were all laughing. Angie seems like she always does – very happy and just focused on her kids.”
Only four days before, Jolie, 37, told the world that she had undergone a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carried a mutated BRCA1 gene predisposing her to cancer. But nothing about her was going to slow down. Through three operations to remove and reconstruct her breasts in as many months, her stamina and spirits matched the energy level of her six-kid household.
And just three weeks after her last procedure, she’d turned in a New York Times op-ed piece about the experience, adding the title of women’s-health advocate to a globally intimidating résumé. How she pulled it off has much to do with the unflagging support of her fiancé.
“In my mind, he’s already married,” says Pitt’s friend and furniture-design partner Frank Pollaro. “This is an admirable person, a man with a deep love for his family.”
According to Jolie’s doctor, Kristi Funk, Pitt was at Jolie’s side for every surgery. They even “managed to find moments to laugh together,” as Jolie put it in her Times piece. At home “Brad did everything he could to keep things secret and protect Angie,” says the family insider. Using early-morning appointments and rental cars to avoid discovery, “they really wanted Angie to be able to recover and rest before they shared the story.”
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Brad Pitt won’t remember you. If you’ve met him, he’ll have no idea who you are when he meets you again. Even if you’ve had what he calls “a real conversation,” your face will start fading from his memory as soon as you walk away. He’ll try to hold on to its outlines, but your features will suffer an inexorable erasure, and the next time he sees you you’ll be brand-new to him. He used to try tricking those he’d forgotten into thinking he remembered them, or at least waiting them out for a clue or scrap of context. But then he decided to experiment.
“So many people hate me because they think I’m disrespecting them,” he says. “So I swear to God, I took one year where I just said, This year, I’m just going to cop to it and say to people, ‘Okay, where did we meet?’ But it just got worse. People were more offended. Every now and then, someone will give me context, and I’ll say, ‘Thank you for helping me.’ But I piss more people off. You get this thing, like, ‘You’re being egotistical. You’re being conceited.’ But it’s a mystery to me, man. I can’t grasp a face and yet I come from such a design/aesthetic point of view. I am going to get it tested.”
He is convinced he has that thing, that condition he read about a few years ago. What’s it called? Is he pronouncing it right? That’s it: prosopagnosia. It’s gotten to the point where he doesn’t even like going out — “that’s why I stay at home” — but he’s also a public person, the center of crowds. “You meet so many damned people,” he says. “And then you meet ‘em again.”
And so, if you ever meet Brad Pitt, you should know a few things: He’ll probably forget you. He’ll probably worry about forgetting you. He’ll probably worry that you’ll think he’s an asshole for forgetting you. And then he’ll probably do or say something that will inspire you to tell people that you just met Brad Pitt, and he’s not an asshole at all….
To read the rest of the Brad Pitt cover story, pick up an issue of Esquire, on sale any day now
For Brad Pitt, today was all about his family’s future.
Just hours before a Tuesday afternoon interview with USA TODAY, his partner Angelina Jolie revealed in a New York Times op-ed that she has undergone a double mastectomy and reconstruction after learning she carried the BRCA1 gene mutation, which doctors estimated gave her an 87% chance of developing breast cancer.
How is Pitt feeling? “I’m quite emotional about it, of course,” said the World War Z star. “She could have stayed absolutely private about it and I don’t think anyone would have been none the wiser with such good results. But it was really important to her to share the story and that others would understand it doesn’t have to be a scary thing. In fact, it can be an empowering thing, and something that makes you stronger and us stronger.”
Pitt spoke with proud wonderment recounting how Jolie kept commitments in the past two months visiting the Congo, as well as London for the G-8 Foreign Ministers Conference and New York to honor Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai. “This was during Stage 2 (when the double mastectomy was performed),” he said. “Literally it was just weeks after she’d had truly major surgery.”
Back at home, he and their six children devised a way to make recovery fun. “We set up our own little post-op recovery that became pretty fun. You make an adventure out of it.”
Overall, Pitt called it the experience “an emotional and beautifully inspiring few months. And I’ll tell you, it’s such a wonderful relief to come through this and not have a spectre hanging over our heads. To know that that’s not going to be something that’s going to affect us. My most proudest thing is our family. This isn’t going to get that.”
Brad Pitt today hailed his fiancée Angelina Jolie as “heroic” after the actress revealed she has undergone a double mastectomy because of her extremely high cancer risk.
Jolie, 37, revealed she had chosen the surgical procedure as a preventative measure after genetic tests revealed she had an 87 per cent chance of developing breast cancer and a 50 per cent chance of ovarian cancer.
The Oscar-winning actress, whose mother Marcheline Bertrand died of ovarian cancer in 2007 at the age of 56, said she had taken the difficult decision so she could tell her children “they don’t need to fear they will lose me”.
Pitt told the Standard: “Having witnessed this decision firsthand, I find Angie’s choice, as well as so many others like her, absolutely heroic. I thank our medical team for their care and focus.
“All I want for is for her to have a long and healthy life, with myself and our children. This is a happy day for our family.”
Writing in the New York Times, Jolie said: “My mother fought cancer for almost a decade. She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was.
“We often speak of ‘Mommy’s mommy,’ and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us. They have asked if the same could happen to me. I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a ‘faulty’ gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.”
The actress has six children – Maddox, 11, Pax, nine, Zahara, eight, Shiloh, six, and four-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne . She said she was speaking out to urge the “many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer” to get gene tested.
Jolie has completed three months of medical procedures including reconstructive surgery after the removal of both breasts.
The actress wrote how the process began on February 2 with a painful procedure known as a “nipple delay” which increases the chance of saving the nipple.
“Two weeks later I had the major surgery, where the breast tissue is removed and temporary fillers are put in place. The operation can take eight hours. You wake up with drain tubes and expanders in your breasts. It does feel like a scene out of a science-fiction film. But days after surgery you can be back to a normal life.
“Nine weeks later, the final surgery is completed with the reconstruction of the breasts with an implant. There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful,” she said.
Amazingly, Jolie kept working throughout the past three months, making a high-profile trip to the Congo alongside William Hague and appearing at the G8 Summit in London last month to call for an end to sexual violence in conflict zones.
Jolie said her risk of developing breast cancer has now fallen to five per cent.
She praised the support of her fiancé and family, saying: “I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive. So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition.
“Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries. We managed to find moments to laugh together. We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has.”
Jolie added: “I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.”
Mr Hague said today: “This is a brave choice by a remarkable woman. The courage it must have taken not only to go through this treatment but then to speak about it to help other women is truly inspiring. Throughout it all her humanitarian work has not missed a beat. This is a courageous decision by one of the bravest people I know. I wish her and her family the very best.”
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“He took me through how excited he was when he read the book, what was exciting for him, the geopolitical aspect of it,” screenwriter Damon Lindelof tells Vanity Fair contributor Laura M. Holson in the June issue of Vanity Fair of meeting Brad Pitt to discuss the star’s troubled zombie project, World War Z.
Lindelof says Pitt explained, “‘But when we started working on the script, a lot of that stuff had to fall away for the story to come together. We started shooting the thing before we locked down how it was going to end up, and it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.’” The actor asked him to watch an edit, and told him, “The thing we really need right now is someone who is not burdened by all the history that this thing is inheriting, who can see what we’ve got and tell us how to get to where we need to get.” Lindelof tells Holson the ending was abrupt and incoherent, but more importantly they were missing a large chunk of footage.
In her revealing report, Holson also speaks to director Marc Forster and Paramount executives Marc Evans and Adam Goodman about the many problems that plagued the set—which included re-writing and reshooting 40 minutes of the film to find a coherent ending—and, most astonishingly, how the budget ballooned to around $200 million.
While closing down the production in Malta, for instance, the wrap-up crew found a stack of purchase orders related to the cast and extras that had been casually tossed into a desk drawer and forgotten; the amount totaled in the millions of dollars. Marc Evans, president of production at Paramount, was shocked. He calls the overages an “unthinkable action” which needed to be addressed immediately. “It was literally insane. Adam [Goodman, president of the Paramount Film Group] and I believed we’d gotten out of Malta good, and I found out we weren’t. That is a nightmare.”
When it came time to watch the director’s cut, Holson reports, the room was silent. “It was, like, Wow. The ending of our movie doesn’t work,” says Evans. “I believed in that moment we needed to reshoot the movie.” After 10 minutes of polite discussion, everyone left. “We were going to have long, significant discussions to fix this,” he recalls thinking.
“I said to them, There are two roads to go down here,” says Lindelof. “Is there material that can be written to make that stuff work better? To have it make sense? To have it have emotional stakes? And plot logic and all that? And Road Two, which I think is the long-shot road, is that everything changes after Brad leaves Israel.” That meant throwing out the entire Russian battle scene—or about 12 minutes of footage—and crafting a new ending. “I didn’t think anyone was going to say, ‘Let’s throw it out and try something else,’ ” Lindelof recalls. “So when I gave them those two roads and they sounded more interested in Road B”—which meant shooting an additional 30 to 40 minutes of the movie—“I was like, ‘To be honest with you, good luck selling that to Paramount.’ ”
Kirsten Dunst was only 11 when she took a role in Interview with the Vampire opposite Tom Cruise (Sexiest Man Alive, ’90) and Brad Pitt (Sexiest Man Alive, ’95). Playing an immortal child-vampire with an eerie maturity, Dunst actually got to kiss Pitt during filming. You would have thought that this would have made her feel like the luckiest little girl in the whole gosh darn world. But in an interview with Bullett magazine, Dunst reveals that kiss was “just a peck,” and it wasn’t even a particularly memorable peck. “Everyone at the time was like, ‘You’re so lucky you kissed Brad Pitt,’ but I thought it was disgusting,” says Dunst, who goes on to reveal that she didn’t kiss anyone else until she was 16 — presumably because she was so traumatized.
In all fairness, Dunst met Pitt when he was still in his grunge phase, coming off the Kalifornia/True Romance long-haired duet and preparing to dig into his Se7en/Twelve Monkeys mud-smear period. (She tells Bullett he spent the filming of Vampire “watch[ing] lots of Real World episodes…just a hippie-ish cool dude.”) Also, she was 11. No word on what it was like to kiss Spider-Man upside-down in the rain, but presumably it was “wet.”
Has China forgiven Brad Pitt?
The actor caused an international uproar Monday when he joined Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like Chinese social-networking site, and wrote one cryptic message.
“It is the truth. Yup, I’m coming . . .” Pitt, 49, posted on his verified account according to The Associated Press.
Those seven words caused Chinese fans to go wild (and gain Pitt over 160,000 followers) with speculation the actor would be visiting their country.
The rumored trip to China would be the first for Pitt after he was reportedly banned from the country due to his role in the 1997 film Seven Years in Tibet. The Chinese Foreign Ministry had an issue with the film’s portrayal of the 14th Dalai Lama and Chinese soldiers.